According to the Austin-American Statesman, 69 people have died in car crashes this year in Austin. At this time last year, that number was 90. Fortunately, it seems the roads are becoming a little safer.
But this is no time to become complacent, and the city’s Vision Zero task force, part of a multi-national road traffic safety project, continues its efforts to eventually completely eliminate the problem of fatal car accidents.
Vision Zero’s Vision for the City
One strategy that Vision Zero proposed this year is to ask the Legislature to reduce residential road speed limits in Texas from 30 to 25 mph. This kind of bill has been proposed before but was shot down. Vision Zero argues that with a reduction in residential speed limits, drivers have more reaction time, allowing them to prevent crashes. Additionally, injuries suffered at lower speed tend to be less severe, especially for pedestrians.
Pedestrian accidents have been a major concern in the city after several high-profile incidents this year and last involving pedestrian fatalities due to vehicles. Last year, almost one third of all traffic deaths were pedestrians, a rate that matches this year’s perfectly. These accidents can happen anywhere – from the southbound lanes of I-35 to the crosswalks your children use to get to school.
Thanks to the $720 million transportation bond approved by voters this November, city officials have proposed $15 million in improvements to the city’s most dangerous intersections, such as Airport and MLK, Airport and 12th and northbound I-35 service road at Braker Lane.